Jack Draper reveals his nickname has darts connections as he prepares for UTS Grand Final

Jack Draper to make his UTS debut

Jack Draper has revealed he will be taking his darting nickname onto the tennis stage when he competes at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) Grand Final in London next month.

Rising British star Draper has accepted a wildcard into the event that will take place at London’s ExCel Arena between December 15 – 17.

All players competing in UTS are given a nickname and Draper will be introduced as ‘The Power’ in front of his home crowd, with that reference linking to one of his other passions, the less energetic sport of darts. 

“Me and my brother always watched a lot of darts and we watched Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor,” he said. “I put it online to see what people thought my nickname would be and there were a few suggestions.

“The way I play, I play quite powerfully, so I thought it would be a good name and maybe it sticks with me; maybe it doesn’t.

“Actually, we play a lot of darts at Davis Cup, it’s kind of our thing in the Great Britain team, and I was called ‘the Power’ there as well so maybe it’s catching on.”

Draper will kick-start his UTS campaign with a match against world No 8 Holger Rune, with the Danish star set to serve up a powerful game that will make for a sparkling opener, before he takes on Gael Monfils and Alexander Bublik in an attractive Group B.

“Rune plays very flat tennis, very fast tennis and it seems like he’s coming in a lot,” continued Draper.

“So it’s definitely going to be a match with lots of flair. I think it will be similar to Sascha Bublik and Monfils. They’re both very unorthodox players who like to run a lot but also like to hit some really big shots. 

“The way all of them play is really exciting tennis so that mixed with my game style should make for some really good matches.”

“It’s going to be really nice to go up against some really good players and hopefully there’s going to be a good crowd there and we can excite a few people.

“Tennis is very structured in the way it does things and UTS seems very different to that. I’ve watched a lot of videos and it always seems like it’s a lot of fun, plus the players really seem like they’re having a good time. There also seems to be a different crowd at UTS as well, making a lot of noise. It’s not a team event but it seems to have a similar atmosphere.

“Also it’s in London. It’s right on my doorstep. The chance to play an event in your home country is always amazing, considering that we’re always away.

“I’ve finished the year really well, played a lot of matches and won a lot of matches as well and I feel really confident heading into the event. 

“As players, we do a lot of pre-season training so this is a good opportunity to get some matches and see where I’m at. It’s good preparation for Australia.

“I think it will be great to play points. Being in the off-season we don’t get to compete that much so it’s good to get your eye in. Also, we play tennis to compete. My love for tennis comes from the competition, the buzz I feel playing.”

WHAT IS UTS?

* Each match consists of four quarters of 8 minutes + the time of a hypothetical Sudden Death.

* The timer stops during the 3-minute changeover at the end of each quarter.

* The 1st player to win 3 QTS wins the match. If both players are tied at 2 QTs apiece, the 5th QT is played in a ‘Sudden Death’ format.

* The ‘Sudden Death’ is a dramatic cliffhanger where the first player to win two consecutive points wins the match. Every point from the second point onwards is a match point during the Sudden Death.

* There is no warm-up: Players enter the court and the match starts straight away

* During the quarter, players serve two points each: player A serves for two points, then player B serves for two points, then player A serves for two points again, etc.

* As a major change designed to reduce down time and create more rallies, UTS players are allowed one-serve only per point: missing the serve results in losing the point.

* Finally, the “No-Let” rule during serve will be in effect.

Tickets for UTS Grand Final London are on sale at www.uts.live

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